I make these Sweet and Savory Stuffed Chicken Quarters quite often. They are not complicated to make and super simple to stuff with the delicious sweet and savory rice mixture. When baked in the oven, the seasoned skin turns out beautifully browned and so crispy! So good!
This is a perfect dish for a weeknight dinner. You get meat and a side dish in one! When stuffed under the skin of the chicken and baked in the oven, the stuffing becomes juicy under the crispy skin and the chicken under the stuffing takes on the sweet flavor of the dried cranberries. Yum! Just add a salad, such as this Spring Vegetable and Berry Salad, or these Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps and you have a full meal. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro, dill, or parsley to garnish and add freshness!
Why you'll love this recipe
- The sweet and savory flavors: the stuffing is made with a savory rice mixture and sweet and slightly tart dried cranberries. Together, the combination of flavors tastes amazing. You can even enjoy this stuffing on its own, as a side dish.
- The crispy skin! everything in moderation, of course, but trying the oven-baked beautifully crispened skin is a must!
- It's a perfect way to use any leftover rice: if you have some rice left over and are looking for a way to give it new life, it would work perfectly stuffed in the chicken.
- Chicken quarters: skin on
- Spices and seasonings: some salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning mix
- Rice: long grain white rice works best. My go-to rice is parboiled rice. I find the grains are a perfect size, not too thin to overcook. But, you can also use brown rice.
- The vegetable mix: carrot, celery, and onion
- Corn: frozen corn kernels
- Dried Cranberries: for that sweet and tart flavor!
See recipe card below for full ingredient list and quanitites
Substitutions and Variations
- Dried cranberries: substitute the cranberries for raising or some chopped prunes. It will give you the sweetness, but not so much of the tart flavor.
- Give it some spice: sprinkle some hot paprika on the skin of the chicken, or use hot sauce. You may also like to add some chili powder to the rice mixture and/or the seasoning for the meat.
- Substitute the carrot, celery and onion mixture for the frozen vegetable mix. It comes in a package of cubed carrots, peas, corn, and green beans. This may save some time in preparing the vegetables for the rice.
Please see the recipe card below for more detailed directions. But in short, these are a few simple steps to make our Sweet and Savory Stuffed Chicken Quarters!
STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 425° f and line a baking dish with parchment paper
STEP 2: Cook the rice following package instructions (add a little salt to taste)
While the rice is cooking, pat the leg quarters dry with a paper towel and rub them with the spices. Make sure to rub the spices on the chicken skin and under the skin.
Saute the chopped onions, diced celery, and grated carrot. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked rice, the corn kernels, and the dried cranberries. Mix well to combine all ingredients.
Stuff the chicken skin with the rice stuffing.
Roast the chicken uncovered for about 40 minutes and until the skin has become crispy and the internal temperature has reached 165° f.
- Do not overcook the rice so it doesn't become too mushy. It will cook more in the oven
- Drying the chicken leg quarters with a paper towel helps crispen the skin
- After roasting, let the meat rest for 5 minutes before serving so the juices have a chance to settle.
The Sweet and Savory Stuffed Chicken Quarters are best served with a fresh, light, salad, such as this Citrus Avocado Salad Recipe. Or, while you are grating carrots for the rice mixture, you can grate additional carrots and use up the dried cranberries in this Sweet Carrot Salad Recipe. The same goes for frozen corn! Use the corn to make this Simple Corn and Marinated Mushroom Salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
There is no need to thaw. Simply add the frozen corn or the frozen veggies into the rice and it will thaw in the heat on its own.
The best way is to use a meat/food thermometer. Insert the needle end of the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat and make sure it reads 165°F.
Allowing the meat to rest and settle (about 5 minutes for chicken leg quarters) keeps it juicy and tender. When meat is cooked, the heat tightens protein fibers causing the juices to collect in the middle part of the meat. If you cut the meat prematurely, the juices that have collected in the middle will pour out before having the chance to cool down and for the juices to settle and distribute in the meat. Meat continues to cook when you take it out of the oven, so it's important to let it rest and cool down.
Storing and Reheating
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 or 4 days.
You can also freeze the leg quarters for up to 3 months. Make sure the chicken cools down completely and place it in an airtight container or a freezer bag.
To reheat the chicken in the oven, simply preheat the oven to 375°F and bake uncovered for about 15-20 minutes for refrigerated chicken and about 30 minutes for frozen chicken. Internal temperature should reach 165°F. Allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
You can also reheat it in the microwave - place the chicken in a microwave-safe dish and heat refrigerated chicken for two minutes and frozen chicken for 3 minutes. If it's not hot enough, heat it again at 1-minute intervals until the internal temperature reaches 165° F.
Other chicken recipes:
Sweet and Savory Stuffed Chicken Quarters
For the chicken:
- 4 chicken leg quarters skin on
For the seasoning:
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning optional
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the stuffing:
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 large carrot peeled and shredded
- 1-2 celery sticks finely diced
- 1 medium onion finely diced
- 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 1 cup corn kernels fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries if you like the stuffing sweeter add more cranberries to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400° f and line a baking dish (large enough to fit four pieces of the chicken leg quarters) with parchment paper.
- Cook the rice following package instructions (add a little salt to taste)
- While rice is cooking, rinse and pat dry the chicken leg quarters. Place the chicken on the parchment-lined baking dish.
- In a small mixing bowl combine all the seasoning ingredients and rub the chicken quarters with the seasoning. Make sure to rub the seasoning on the chicken skin and inside the skin, by gently lifting the skin with one hand and rubbing the seasoning mixture with the other hand. Set the chicken aside.
- Prepare the stuffing: heat two tablespoons of cooking oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat and saute the chopped onions, diced celery, and grated carrot until the mixture has softened, about 5-7 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Add the cooked rice, the corn kernels, and the dried cranberries. Mix well to combine all ingredients.
- Stuff the chicken skin with the rice stuffing by gently lifting and holding the skin with one hand and using the other hand to stuff the rice under the skin. I like to use my hands for this, however, you can use a tablespoon if you like.
- Place the chicken in the preheated oven, uncovered, and bake for about 40 minutes, until the skin has become crispy and the internal temperature has reached 165° f.
- Reheat leftovers in the oven, in an oven-safe dish, at 400 ° f, until heated through (about 15 minutes).